When the Indiana High School Athletic Association approved the new Class 6-A for the 2013 football season, creating a domino effect through the lower classes, one area program emerged as the biggest loser in the fallout.
Instead of dropping weight, Silver Creek has gained students and has been cast with some of the heavyweights of Southern Indiana.
Silver Creek, about to start its third year as a varsity program, is now in Class 4-A and lumped into Sectional 24 with perennial state powers Evansville Reitz and Jasper. The Dragons, who recorded their first victory last season and finished 3-7, also will face possible pairings (and potentially long trips) with Evansville Central, Evansville Harrison, Boonville, Owen Valley and Seymour.
“We would like not to do that, but that’s the nature of the situation,” coach Mike Donahue said. “The team is positive about it. We’re ready for the challenge, no matter what it is.”
Silver Creek’s growth spurt has created the problem. In the 2006-07 academic year the school was ranked 171st in the state in enrollment. Two years ago it was 155th with 716 students, and now it’s 63rd with 809. It went from the middle of the pack in 3-A to the bottom of 4-A — missing the cut by one student — in the latest figures.
Indianapolis Chatard (726 students) is now the smallest school in 4-A but was bumped up from 3-A in accordance with the IHSAA’s new “success factor” rule that moves a team up one class after it wins multiple titles in successive seasons (either a state and regional or back-to-back semistates).
Silver Creek’s growth is traced to the West Clark Schools allowing transfers from other districts. Silver Creek officials knew the enrollment numbers were on the rise, but the bump to 4-A came two years earlier than expected.
“That’s the way it is,” athletic director Larry Richmer said. “It’s a very tall order. We see the other teams in there, and it will be a stiffer challenge.”
“We’re not going to worry about it until it’s time and we see who we draw,” Donahue said. “With the team we have coming back, we thought we had a high possibility of winning a sectional game. Now it will be tougher. We still have a whole season of people we’ve played before. We will take on the competition in front of us.”
The winner in the shuffling is Floyd Central. The Highlanders remain in 5-A and are grouped with Franklin, Whiteland and Jennings County in the new Sectional 14.
None of those possible opponents has enjoyed recent success. Franklin went 4-7 last year and now has a new coach (Adam Reese). Jennings County, which has never won a sectional, went 1-9 last season and has a new coach (Dustin Roller). Only Whiteland (6-4 last year) has found success with three sectional titles (the last in 2006) under ninth-year coach Darrin Fisher.
“It’s an evenly matched sectional,” Floyd coach Brian Glesing said. “We’re excited, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We can build. Winning three games is tough, but you can win two games. That’s a big deal. We can build and be the best we can be in October to win that tournament.”
The other area sectionals remained intact, with minor additions and subtractions.
In Class 3-A, Brown County and Washington were added into the sectional that includes five Mid-Southern Conference teams (Brownstown, Charlestown, Corydon, North Harrison and Salem). Heritage Hills and Silver Creek were moved out of that eight-team tournament.
In 2-A, Clarksville and Providence will compete in an eight-team sectional that now includes Milan and Indianapolis Manual, plus holdovers Paoli, Eastern Pekin and Crawford County. Lawrenceburg and Monrovia were moved out.